As Manchester United’s usually quiet transfer business is being splashed around the back pages, Sir Alex Ferguson took the rare step of confirming
The United manager acknowledged that he prefers to ‘keep business as close as possible to us until the moment we conclude a deal. There’s no point talking about something that might not happen.’ Yet as Arsenal revealed the interest in their striker, the issue could prove to be the price that potential suitors will have to pay to acquire the Premier League’s top scorer from last season.
According to the Daily Mail, the Gunners are thought to value van Persie at £30m. United’s offer however is well short of this for a player that is 29 years old next month and in the final year of his contract. The board at the Emirates will surely not be expecting to have their valuation matched, but with six weeks left in the transfer window, they are in no hurry to conclude deal. Going public with the bids for van Persie could well be a tactic to force a bidding war, which United will be wary of getting involved in with neighbours Man City.
Sao Paulo president Juvenal Juvencio appears to be using the same tactic to drive up the price for prize asset Lucas Moura. The Mirror reported that the Brazilian club rejected United’s improved offer of nearly £30m, despite their initial asking price being matched.
United’s Rafael da Silva, who is Lucas’ teammate in the Brazil Olympic squad, admitted after Friday’s game against the Great Britain team that he has encouraged his 19-year-old compatriot to join him at Old Trafford – as again reported by the Mirror. It is difficult however to see Ferguson paying much more than £30m for an unproven talent, and the destiny of Lucas could depend on the situation with van Persie.
In other transfer news at United, the People claim that the club have stepped up their interest in Fulham midfielder Moussa Dembele. The creative Belgian impressed for the Cottagers last season when he dropped from a more advanced position to the centre of midfield, in a show of versatility that could impress the United manager.
Dembele would potentially cost something in the region of £15m, which could free up funds to be spent elsewhere should United fail to land the more expensive Lucas. The 25-year-old would be a less glamourous signing however, and undoubtedly met by supporters with much less excitement than the young Brazilian or the big name of van Persie.
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